Contention

Contention and Other Frontier Stories, edited by Hazel Rumney, features seventeen brand-new stories that will delight historical fiction fans. These stories capture the spirit of freedom and individualism in the evolving American frontier through the early 1900s and feature exciting new characters who face life-changing challenges in settings that are in stark contrast to civilized society. Ranging from high-action traditional Westerns to introspective historical dramas set in the American West, readers will discover the amount of courage and tenacity it took to survive the tumultuous frontier.

In this anthology, you’ll enjoy discovering stories by New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors such as Loren D. Estleman, Johnny D. Boggs, Michael Zimmer, Max McCoy, John D. Nesbitt, Preston Lewis, Rod Miller, W. Michael Farmer, Greg Hunt, Bill Brooks, Tim Champlin, Robert D. McKee, Michael R. Ritt, Kathleen Morris, Vonn McKee, John Neely Davis, and Marcia Gaye

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Burnin’
The north wind picked up and sent tumbleweeds racing southward across the prairie. They stopped on the windward side of the building, huddling up like exhausted travelers waiting for more energy before continuing their headlong flight.
The squeak of the leather strap coach-braces, the jingle of trace chains, and the rumble of steel-rimmed wheels against the pitted road brought Mick and Louise out onto the front porch. The coach, enveloped in a furious cloud of dust, thundered toward them, the four horses dripping with sweat and spotted with foam and fighting against the bits.

The man riding shotgun pulled against the rope line attached to the brake pole as the driver tried to impose his will on the horses. The guard bounded down from the seat as the coach came to a stop, jerked the left-side door open and reached inside. “Come outta there, you sorry
son of a bitch,” he said, as he dragged a large man out into the dusty road and flung him to the ground as if he was no more than an unruly child. “Don’t you never book a ride with us again, even if’n it’s fifty years from now. You hear what I’m sayin’?”
He glared at the man he had just forcibly evicted, then put his foot on the metal step and swung back up onto the bench. The dust hadn’t even settled when the driver lashed the leather lines against the horses’ backs, and the coach resumed its frantic trek toward Oneida.
Louise turned to Mick. “Well. I believe now I’ve seen it all.”
Mick jumped off the porch and vaulted the hitching rail. He leaned forward and helped the still stunned man to his feet. “You all right, mister?”

The man stood, dusted his clothes, and reshaped his hat. Standing, he was larger than he appeared while sprawled in the dirt. “Young man,” he said, looking down on Mick, “I’ve had rougher treatment from more genteel folks and common criminals. It was a misunderstanding—
nothing more, nothing less. I am scheduled to catch the train here,” he pulled a silver-cased watch monogrammed with a cursive O from his vest pocket and inspected the timepiece, “at one forty-five.”